This paper makes a clear case for revolutionizing reporting standards for group care programs. Readers will learn how the field’s current approach paints an all-to-generic picture of programs while failing to define what works—and what doesn’t—in terms of serving today’s youth. New comprehensive standards, introduced in this report, can both expand what we know about group care practice and inject some much-needed nuance into this muddied field.
The spectrum of group care programs is endless. Our knowledge of these programs? Not so much
Findings & Stats
Rethinking Reporting Standards
This paper recommends adopting new reporting standards that examine nine different characteristics of group care programs—everything from program size and location to practice models and outcomes. The goal? Arm stakeholders with the information that they need to determine what programs—and program elements—work best for children.
Many parties could benefit from a richer review of group care programs. Researchers could begin connecting the dots between program characteristics and positive outcomes. States could gain a better sense of the types of programs operating in their system and more swiftly identify gaps in service delivery. And licensing and accreditation agencies could customize practice standards for different populations served or treatment models used.
An Incomplete Picture
What details do we gather from group care programs right now? Not a lot. Current reporting standards give us information on a program’s geographic location, size and duration of service. This limited view stymies the development of group care practice and makes it difficult to differentiate between troubled and high-quality programs, say experts.
Statements & Quotations
Reporting group care program characteristics in a standardized and comprehensive way would allow a more nuanced understanding of group care practice and effectiveness to emerge.
By being too quick to generalize across programs with different intervention components and goals, the field loses the opportunity to determine which forms of group care are likely to have benefit in achieving what goals with what youth.